A horse of a different color

Living outside your native country occasionally triggers double-takes over the simplest things. I’m used to that; I’ve been living outside my native country, off and on, for decades. But sometimes you have to look twice at something new before you realize that it’s not just where you’re at, but the fact that it is actually something new you’ve never seen before.

I stood and stared at a laptop in my local recycling shop for about two or three minutes today before realizing there must actually be something called a Crusoe processor, and that it isn’t just a labeling issue or a leftover sticker put there by some kid with a weird sense of humor. I’ve never seen or heard of a Crusoe processor, but a quick Scroogle search this evening puts me back in the “educated” category.

Apparently those machines will run Linux, so I wonder if it’s adequately obscure to warrant a price tag of just under US$200. I can’t offer any more information than that; I was sufficiently bowled over by seeing it that I didn’t even bother to notice who made the darned thing. Talk about losing your cool.

Regardless, if you have any experience with them or can offer advice, I’d be willing to listen. I don’t actually need another laptop right now, but the strange and unusual are always given priority in my household. 😈


5 thoughts on “A horse of a different color

  1. Onyros

    Oh, I’ve had the “pleasure” of working with one of these Crusoe laptops once before. I’ll just start by saying that a 200 dollar pricetag is way too much for it.

    They are very, very and I mean, very slow. Even if it is in mint condition, 200 dollars for a laptop with that chip is overpriced. I can get a used Thinkpad X40 for 50 bucks more here in Portugal, and the performance difference is huuuuuuuuuge.

    They were aimed at being power efficient, mostly, but that came at a cost. I remember the laptop I used had a 1.0GHz Crusoe processor, that was much slower than a Via C3 Mini-ITX system I had. Well, I don’t know if you’re acquainted with the kind of performance a Via C3 has (mine was an 800MHz chip, which is outperformed easily by a 550MHz Celeron)… but that says a lot.

    And even where it was supposed to be strong – power saving – it failed.

    So, long story short: you don’t need that laptop, you will get better performance from very low end Pentium III or Celeron, and it will cost you less.

  2. Luca

    I picked up a thin client a few years ago that has one of these. Strangely even though it is a thin client it is rather powerful compared to some of the machines you use!

    luca@tcs:~$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
    processor : 0
    vendor_id : GenuineTMx86
    cpu family : 6
    model : 4
    model name : Transmeta(tm) Crusoe(tm) Processor TM5700
    stepping : 3
    cpu MHz : 798.169
    cache size : 256 KB
    fdiv_bug : no
    hlt_bug : no
    f00f_bug : no
    coma_bug : no
    fpu : yes
    fpu_exception : yes
    cpuid level : 1
    wp : yes
    flags : fpu vme de pse tsc msr cx8 sep cmov mmx longrun lrti constant_tsc up
    bogomips : 1646.01
    clflush size : 32

    luca@tcs:~$ free -m
    total used free shared buffers cached
    Mem: 234 209 24 0 32 135
    -/+ buffers/cache: 40 193
    Swap: 0 0 0

    It has a 512mb internal flash drive which is particularly slow, so I installed grub and have it boot Ubuntu 7.10 from a USB flash drive. It has USB 2.0 so this is great, plus it only uses about 20W!

  3. eksith

    If the devices powered by it can beat the ASUS Eee PC for that price, then it might be worth it.

    I don’t actually need another laptop right now

    No, but the computer fairy says it’s OK for you to have another one.

  4. Onyros

    That one I can answer, eksith. No way, José 😉

    Even the 701 runs circles around that one.


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